Herb Score, the longtime radio and TV voice of the Cleveland Indians whose own glittering pitching career nosedived after taking a liner to the face off the bat of the Yankees’ Gil McDougal in 1957, has passed away at the age of 75.
A 34 year fixture in the Tribe’s broadcast booth, Score was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1955, a season he finished with 245 K’s, a freshman record that stood until Dwight Gooden’s 1984 campaign. Of Score’s subsequent broadcasting career, the Akron Beacon-Journal’s Sheldon Ocker recalls, “He felt fortunate to be paid a salary for speaking into a microphone for a few hours a day, and not even every day. For five months of the year, he didn’t even do that. This was not Score’s definition of work.”
Certainly, he didn’t take the job seriously enough to become a polished broadcaster. Score didn’t understand that talking about baseball is no less a profession than playing baseball. Maybe that’s why he became known for his bloopers.
”Warming up in the bullpen is Efrem Zimbalist Jr.,” Score once announced, mistaking a television actor for Tribe reliever Efrain Valdez.
And Score once gave this line for an outgoing pitcher: ”And for Steve Lamar, two innings, one hit, no runs and a walk.”
The problem is that Steve Lamar was his partner in the broadcast booth.
But nobody seemed to mind Score’s mistakes. He was one of us, a guy who worked and lived in Northeast Ohio for decades. He represented the joy and the disappointment of the 20th century Indians like no man this side of Bob Feller. Maybe even including Feller.